Monday, March 23, 2009

Northern Exposure: Kim Elton

Okay, raise your hand if you remember last year’s brouhaha regarding Sarah Palin charging the state of Alaska $17,000 in per diem so that she could live in her Wasilla home while the governor's mansion underwent renovations. I’m guessing that most of your hands went up (or would have, if we were actually in a room together). Well, one of the main people pushing that story was then-State Senator Kim Elton – who has since received a cushy presidential appointment as the Department of the Interior’s Director of Alaska Affairs. However, it now appears that Sen. Elton was himself charging the state even more in per diem. Not only that, it appears that unlike Palin – who was actually billling the state for legitimate expenses - Elton seems to have been abusing the process.

I have a source in Alaska who did some digging through the “Alaska Legislature 2008 Salary and Business Expense Report” – put out by the state’s Legislative Affairs Agency - and it’s truly amazing what was going on. According to my source, Elton charged the state a grand total of $20,681.25 in per diem for the year 2008 – several thousand dollars more than Gov. Palin. That comes out to $122.25 per day through the normal legislative session between January 15 and April 15. Then he charged $160.50 per day for two of the year’s four special sessions (30 days each). So, just on these facts alone, the man is far more “guilty” than the Governor when it comes to per diem.

But then again, travel and lodging costs a lot for legislators in Alaska. It’s a big state, and legislators from far-flung corners of the Great White North have to move to the remote capital of Juneau for the 90-day legislative session. So, for the most part, it is acceptable for these people to collect per diem for their services. It must have been horribly expensive for Sen. Elton, considering that he represents a town of only a few thousand people that is accessible only by boat. It must have cost an arm and a leg for him to get to work from his home town of Juneau!

Yes, you read that correctly. While he was ragging on Sarah Palin for expensing her commutes to Wasilla, Kim Elton was ripping off thousands of dollars from the State of Alaska. While what he did it perfectly legal, I fail to see why he needed more than $20,000 in food and lodging expenses to pay for the quick drive from his house to the Capitol Building. I might also add that, while I only have numbers from last year, Elton charged per diem every year during his decade in the State Senate. Palin, on the other hand, actually charged far less per diem than the previous two governors, who billed the state to live in hotels and rent apartments in Anchorage.

Now, this might seem like a regional story, but in this case, Palin's per diem became a national issue. So, if Kim Elton wanted to ensure that the world found out all about Sarah Palin's use of state funds, then it’s only fair that we examine Elton's own use (and abuse) of said funds– especially since the man seems to have been handsomely rewarded for his efforts against Gov. Palin (he was head of the Legislative Council that "handled" the "Troopergate" mess). Then again, his new job may also be due to his close relationship with Pete Rouse - a former co-worker who served as chief of staff to a young senator named Barack Obama.

People who live in glass houses….


  1. thanks.. have you linked here:

  2. Adam, how about Beth Kerttula? Any word on her per diem claims?

  3. Wouldn't you know that this ghastly-excuse-for-a-person, Kim, was pulling something unethical like this? GOOD DIGGING, Adam and Friends!

    Now----how do we widely publicize these facts, given that the MSM won't help......?

  4. Wow! Excellent work as usual Adam. It's time the secrets are revealed. Gov. Palin promised and delivered transparency. Those who have abused her ethics reform need to be held to that same standard. God bless you Adam

  5. Excellent work, now on to Hollis French and Kerttula.

    What really needs investigating is the link between the 0bama campaign to the ongoing attacks on Gov. Palin. We've all heard rumors since the end of August that 0bama pays people, primarily high school and college kids to keep a steady barrage of vile comments against Palin on the internet. Surely, there is some of them out there who would be willing to turn over emails, memos, and even pay check stubs and other details related to this activity.

  6. Hi all - I'm an Alaskan, and though a democrat, I'm a longtime friend (since the '80s) of Sarah Palin. That said, I'll attempt to stick to the facts of what Adam has pointed out here. 2008 Alaska legislative pay can be found here:

    While the Alaska legislature is in session in Juneau, 57 of the 60 legislators draw $163/day, tax-free, for in-session per-diem. The Juneau legislators, Sen Elton(D), Rep Kertulla(D) and Rep Munoz(R) draw $122/day which is taxiable income. At the page I noted, the difference can be seen in the in-session per diem column, were it shows Juneau legislators made $7000 less.

    Alaska legislative per diem has been a much storied topic in Alaska over the years...hope this info helps...

  7. Another Alaskan here. Your 'digging' makes a nice little soundbite, but you really can't compare the Governor's per diem to legislative per diem.
    The Governor's base pay is $125,000, and she has a residence provided in Juneau with staff and meals provided. The Governor also has a plane available for travel inside Alaska, which she also doesn't have to pay for.
    Alaska legislators, on the other hand, receive base pay of $24,000. Legislative per diem, presently, is designed to be an integral part of their base compensation package.
    If that sounds like a bad idea, it is, which is why there's presently a proposal to increase legislative base pay and eliminate some of the per diem component. But the current, flawed system was hardly Senator Elton's idea.
    Sorry to spoil your expose, but your comparison simply isn't valid.

  8. Adam, this last comment by hpabjc8 is 100% correct. It spells out something I just hinted at - that your Alaska source didn't digg up a story at all. The money your looking for is the missing $7000 from Elton, Kertulla and Doll's session per diem totals.

    I misspoke previously - Cathy Munoz beat Andrea Doll last Nov for the Juneau/Mendenhall seat, so look for Rep Doll for 2008. Cathy's numbers for salary and session per diem will similar for 2009.

    Adam, I figure it's OK for you to have not suspected the way Alaska legislators are paid could possibly be as byzantine as it is, but at the same time I'm thinking your Alaska source doesn't have good sense for how Alaska politics works.

    FWIW, I figure Sarah Palin works out of her house in Wasilla because she's more comfortable that way. It's OK. The political problem comes from the fact that her house is in Wasilla, and that runs into a pre-existing political contriversy about where the capitol is. If Sarah Palin was the former mayor of Kenai, Kodiak or Sitka the working at home and picking up the per diem would just be considered eccentric at worse. Alaska has a history of colorful governors. But, Sarah Palin's hometown is Wasilla, and Juneau is the capitol - the actual issue isn't her doing.

  9. OK that's all well and good, but what are we saying then, it's OK for one and not the other cause the two situations are "different"?

    You two are right, this wouldn't be a story........if it wasn't for the fact that the guy who pushed all sorts of charges against Gov Palin and led the phony outrage just got a position with Telly and Rahmbo, LLC.

    I grew up a democrat (Truman-style), I left during the Clinton years because of condemn-and-condone BS like this. It wouldn't surprise me to see the lead voice of the opposition was engaging in the same underhanded tactics he was accusing the governor of. As I explained during my brief stay at the Alaska SubStandard, you don't have to be from AK to know Chicago-style thuggery when you see it. If there truly is nothing here, then OK, but let's verify that's the case.

  10. Any kind of change is uncomfortable even positive change. But, when you change dysfunctional systems the fight against that change is almost always more difficult. Dysfunctional systems fight change tooth and nail.
    It sounds like Alaska is going through an ethical reset. Politics like a lot of things seem to operate like a pendulum. It swings between right and left all of the time. But, sometimes a change occurs that actually causes a pendulum swing so violent that it causes the whole system to jump to a new position.
    New ethics reforms have been introduced in Alaska and that has upset a whole lot of the system. There have been some positive changes, more corrupt politicians being brought to light and such.
    But, I believe that it is unfortunate and unfair that Gov. Palin, who was instrumental in introducing much needed and appropriate reforms, is being attacked, but it is not surprising. Individuals that do not like conservative positions are taking any opportunity to attack it. Republicans feel the changes in the dysfunctional system are fighting it. People like Andree McLeod are abusing the system.
    What I do find a little surprising is that there are not more people calling out things like getting per diem when your commute to work is that short. I find it surprising that people aren’t reacting more to Andree McLeod. I find it surprising that more people aren’t defending the Governor.
    It seems like things really are tougher in Alaska including politics. I appreciate reading some of the insights of Alaska residents.

  11. I seem to recall some very indignant Democrats huffing and puffing about a certain governor living at home and commuting just a mere 44 miles away and collecting the $60 per day per diem.

    In fact some of those Democrats went from being simply indignant to flat out fits of hysteria.

    But somehow, some of you guys would have us believe that it is just different.

    Why? Because these legislators are Democrats?

    I am certain that even the Democrats here have got to realize that there defense of these Democratic legislators smacks of hypocrisy.

  12. "I am certain that even the Democrats here have got to realize that there defense of these Democratic legislators smacks of hypocrisy."

    In theory, that would be the case. But it doesn't matter to them. It's all about the "bottom line" (make Tellybama the most greatest president ever and eliminate all opposition--Rush and Sarah in this case--on the way), who cares about such little things as facts and hypocrisy? The only dems that do are moderate dems and they're disappearing at about the same rate as conservatives who actually do what they were elected to do.

    Case in point, you think Blago had anything to do with ethics? Nah, they only took him down cause of the possibility he had something on Thugs Inc. Pelosi and Reid has about three or four laundry lists of scandal between them, and I guarantee you if they're perceived as bringing The Ungreat Communicator we'll see the media turn on them (but only then) leading up to '10. Cause you see, as Rush would say, "What we have here is a little social concern"

    Hell I just posted on the A.S.S. (Alaska SubStandard, which, contrary to what Dan Fagan says, is a bash-Palin website) for the last two weeks and reminded them that French, Elton, and Kerttula (not to mention Stevens, Begich, Murky, and Young) could make their own oil well between them there's so much dirt there. Guess what? They don't care one damn bit, and it's all because they oppose Palin (and these are the CONSERVATIVES, needless to say rumors of their forming an alliance with the braindead libs were well-founded), thus they'll overlook that little corruption thing.

    So it's all about means to an end here with these people, they don't care. And a good chunk of 65 million people who voted for a typical Chicago politician to lead the free world apparently aren't interested either.

  13. What these other Alaskans fail to mention is that the ethics of taking the per diem every day still raises the same ethical issues--regardless of how much they make.

    Additionally, legislators make far less because they work far less. The legislators have a limited calnedar, while the governor is still working throughout the year.

    Still, is anyone surprised at Elton? He's just another loudmouth who says one thing and does another.

  14. Elton is actually on the low end of the pay scale when you add all of the components of leg pay together.With Alaska Leg pay,it is unfortunate that they call part of the pay per diem,when it is actually handled like a daily salary.In the case of the Governor,the per diem is wholly separate and was never intended to be a separate part of the salary.Hopefully,the Leg pay issues can be addressed by raising the componant called salary and reducing or removing much or all of the component called per diem.

  15. You know,saying that he is more guilty than Palin only re-enforces the fact that the Governor is guilty.Just sayin'.

  16. And what would she be guilty of exactly Mr. Anonymous tip?

    Elton's guilty of Chicago-style fraud and conspiracy, but as I noted, if the AK GOP doesn't care, and in some cases even SUPPORT the weasels cause it's part of the bigger picture (get Palin) then this isn't going to go anywhere. That doesn't however, preclude us from keeping an eye on it.

  17. You missed the point from the other Alaskan posters. ALL legislators get per diem as PART of their pay package. Juneau legislators get less, but they ALL (even Republicans) get per diem. There's talk of giving them a raise on their base pay and getting rid of the per diem, but as of right now that's how it is...actually and legitimately.

    Works different for the governor, because she's a different branch of government. Reread the posts above. They really said it all.

    There's nothing Chicago about it. It's just Alaska...crazy and unexplainable sometimes, but *shrug*

  18. Going to the root of the issue, I have never seen any evidence that Governor Palin purposely broke any law. There IS a difference from purposely doing something wrong, to someone making an innocent mistake.

    When the Governor has made an innocent mistake, she has acknowledged and owned up to it. In fact, she continues to take the 'road less traveled' by fleeing from even the 'appearance' of wrongdoing.

    You see, it's called "integrity". I know, it's hard to believe that anyone, especially a politican, can still have that today. But she does. That's why we love her.

  19. Kim Elton is an Obama stooge, along with Hollis French and Stephen Branchflower.

    This kinda breaks it all down:,_barack_obama_shows_rod_blagojevich_how_pay_-for-play_is_done!.thtml

  20. There has been another ethics complaint brought against Governor Palin for wearing an Arctic Cat Inc. jacket at the Iron Dog Race. The complaint was issued by Linda Kellen Biegel. She is known as a blogger named Celthic Diva.

  21. This issue is to meant to focus our attention AWAY from what's really important ("Watch what the other hand is doing.").

    Of course Obama supports, and perhaps funds Gov. Palin's always being scrutinized or slammed.

    I am very concerned about his bizarre, inappropriate laughter of late. Do you think he still needs recovery? (All the added stress...)

  22. Mountain Mama,
    You are right on about Obama. He is having a press conference and AIG bonus thing to shield his true agenda. He wants to contro the whole economy from Washington. I was upset that he laughed about the economy on 60 minutes. He thinks it is funny that americans are unemployed and losing their earnings. He will even go against the constitution to take over the economy.

  23. this article just set a record in the guiness book of world's records for the most trolls in one article.
    Please notice how many of these new bloggers have cancelled their account. "hpabjc8" has already gone on their way.

    you are correct, Mountain Mama, Mr. Obama's laughter was scary.

  24. Adam thanks this is priceless.What more can I say.Palin 2012

  25. Now my friend, you might already be on your way but before you go:

    "There's nothing Chicago about it. It's just Alaska...crazy and unexplainable sometimes, but *shrug*"

    Um, this has EVERYTHING to do with Chicago. The head legislator brings all sorts of phony charges against the Governor and then conveniently gets a job with Telly and Rahmbo LLC for his troubles (probably as a thank you gift).

    Of course there IS the photo of him, French, and co at an Obama rally floating around the internet.

    And losers like Andrew Halcro point the finger at SARAH for not showing any class, of course that just tells me that he and Fagan are "Frankie's boys" and they're in on it. I've pretty much come to the conclusion based on my "conversations" with the "Alaska conservatives" over at the SubStandard the last couple weeks that they're Murks too.

  26. BTW Adam, this got on FR. Way to go!!!!!!!

  27. Terrible news Palinistas,

    Team Obama 98, Gonzaga 77

    Ah well, got Great One on right now to take the pain away

  28. In every mess that Palin gets thrown into I never feel I find what the other side has up their sleve. The fact that Palin has expense report all over the web for everyone to see, and that none of these legislators do creates a double standard.

    It's getting to a point where I wonder if these state legislators are on the take or something to get Sarah out as soon as possible and go back to their old corupt ways.

    I don't think Governor Palin is the saint people want her to be, but I look at all these stories and I actually read the content and she in no way the evil moron a lot of parties would like to potray her as.

    I think both sides need to concentrate some of middle ground for the sake of Alaska, and creating some stability.

  29. Ri-ight, Anonymous:
    Yes, the corrupt elements of Alaskan AND USA
    politics would LOVE to unnerve, corrupt, and ruin Gov. Palin, to remove her from the running in 2012 or thereafter.

    But should Gov. Palin try to find some "middle ground" with some very-possibly (as you phrase it) "on the take" state legislators? Yeah, that's a terrific plan, all right, "for the sake of Alaska, and creating some stability."

    Can you spell, "Neville Chamberlain?"

    Gov. Palin is doing the right thing by modeling ethical behavior openly on the web, and working hard for her constituents----whether or not other, definitely-vicious politicians do.

  30. Mama hits it right on the head. Middle ground?!
    And exactly how did the senator that ran for president last year, the one who's been preaching middle ground forever, how did he do again? In fact, it was because of Gov. Palin that not only did he not get absolutely steamrolled (52.7%, some messiah), but that the opposition to The Great Pretender today is as vocal as it is. Could we imagine the "Centrist's Dream" ticket of McCain/Lieberman for a sec? What do you think the final numbers would be there?

    See, much like Goldwater, she reinvigorated a movement--even in "defeat". That's why Thugs Inc. (in both their D.C. and Alaska headquarters) are after her, from BOTH sides of the aisle. That's why every day you can't read a left-wing scrap without a reminder that Sarah Palin isn't a factor. That's why the dimwits (and their fake conservative compatriots at the A.S.S. I'm sure) are up in arms that she dared not to pick the uber-partisan attack dog Beth Kerttula.

    So why should she extend the "middle ground" olive branch? One, she already has, and two, Alaskan Dems (and fake cons) CLEARLY aren't interested. Back to McCain, his best friends in the Senate are Schumer and Kerry (who served in Vietnam), would you describe either of those two clowns as centrists? Doubtful.

    And what is a true centrist anyway? Every (self-proclaimed) centrist or indy I've ever read has either swung hard left or at least veers left. Take Jake Tapper for instance, who The Great One has complimented on at least a couple of occasions for his willingness to "take on" Obama (to be fair he did some pretty good work earlier this decade in laying out how every terror group in the Middle East had some connection to every rogue state--including Iraq--in one way or another), but he also scalded Sarah in his blog recently and it was riddled with all sorts of crap leftist talking points. So the point is everyone's skewed one way to an extent. Remember Nader joining up with Kerry a few years back to rid the world of George W.?

  31. Oh and one more word on Kerttula. See, when I was in the military there was a lot made about who got selected for advancement, and that no longer would length of service by itself be a factor (back to quality over quantity). Well Kerttula doesn't impress me from what I've seen. Same as the dems who run Olympia throwing all their credentials (which usually consist of length of service).

    Matter of fact, hadn't this wacko judge that was up for selection been a judge much longer than the one Gov Palin picked?

    What is it with all the backbiters (not to be confused with TGO's "backBENCHers") up there and their infatuation with service time? Hey Chris Gregoire's been in politics for 40 years! I guess that makes her the best WA gov EVER!

    (Of course I'm only half-serious when I say I want Sarah to run down here in 2012 if she decides the presidency's a no-go)

  32. Great brain massage, 12thMan! You're the straight-cowboy version of Camille Paglia.

  33. I'd like to think that my daily double of Rush/TGO would pay off SOMEWHERE:)